An Insight into the history and development of the Australian Yellow Gouldian Finch. All details from the diary of Don Crawford who developed this Gouldian mutation over a period of ten years.
Starting out in 1981
In 1981 breeding season, two normal Gouldians had a late nest. On inspection, the nest contained five full eggs. The first egg hatched on the 28th October, all five eggs hatched by 30th October 1981. The last two to hatch looked lighter with clearer skin, and also had noticeable white nodules instead of the usual blue nodules. When feathered it was evident we were in the possession of a very special Gouldian finch mutation, and its development would be slow and difficult.
Once moulted, we had a yellow headed hen, the other mutation was a black headed cock (grey). Both birds were very similar in colour with the cock being darker in the yellow areas. The pure white chest put the finishing touch to a lovely pastel coloured bird.
We named this mutation “The Australian White Breasted Yellow”. Terry Martin has since renamed this mutation “The Australian Yellow” so there is no confusion with the name of any other white breasted mutation that may be developed.
The 1982 season was even more interesting, a pair of red headed produced four young, two normal and two Australian yellow young, which were a red cock and a yellow hen all from birds I didn’t know were related. Then another nest produced young with a small yellow spot on the back of the head, the spot was on the identical area of each bird. Being an ex canary breeder this suggested to me the spot would be a marker for a carrier (split) bird and that it would also be recessive, not all the carriers had the visual spot, most look like normals.
At the end of the season there was a meeting of Gouldian breeders in Brisbane to introduce Mike Fidler to like minded breeders, it was one of his first trips to Australia .At this meeting we displayed this new mutation for the first time!!!
The 1983 season we sorted all the coloured and carrier birds and put them together, this totaled ten Australian yellows and thirteen definite Carriers. Then unfortunately I read in a finch magazine that Gouldians every so often should be treated for air sack mite. Wanting to do the best for this mutation, working to the exact recipe and mixed by a chemist we fed it to our birds, with disastrous results, this mixture killed all but one Australian yellow hen.
The 1984 season we would start all over again, producing three only carrier birds.
The 1985 season was a very slow year breeding three carriers and two coloured birds. We started to improve our results in 1986 with four coloured birds and lots of possible carriers.
The Work Continues
In 1987 a small number of this mutation did SLIP out of our hands and were sold on the open market!!! We did continue to work with this mutation for the next few years and rebuilt to a respectable fifty birds, always using parent raised and aviary bred which still continues to this day. We feel strongly that in developing this mutation although quite difficult at times, was also very rewarding and making us very satisfied that we produced one of the best mutations available to day.